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Peru to target Odebrecht former partners, politicians, others for fines

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By Reuters
Peru to target Odebrecht former partners, politicians, others for fines
FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured at its headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo   -   Copyright  Paulo Whitaker(Reuters)

LIMA (Reuters) – The Peruvian prosecutor tasked with seeking damages owed to the state for corruption said on Monday he plans to fine local companies, politicians and businessmen about $180 million for taking part in Brazilian builder Odebrecht’s kickback schemes.

In a plea deal signed with Peruvian authorities on Saturday, Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] agreed to provide evidence and pay Peru about $180 million for having bribed local officials, prosecutor Jorge Ramirez added, confirming an exclusive Reuters report.

But Ramirez said the fine Odebrecht will pay is only about half the $370 million owed to Peru for illegal cost overruns that resulted from Odebrecht’s bribes.

“I’ll charge the rest to Odebrecht’s former partners, as well as businessmen, high-ranking government officials, former presidents and former ministers involved,” Ramirez told Reuters in a phone interview.

The announcement means there will likely be more fallout for local businesses and politicians from the massive graft scandal triggered by Odebrecht in late 2016, when it admitted in a plea deal with U.S., Brazilian and Swiss authorities that it had bribed officials in a dozen countries, including Peru.

Ramirez declined to provide details of who he will target for new fines.

Odebrecht’s most important local partner has been Peruvian construction conglomerate Grana y Montero, which has been under investigation in connection with Odebrecht for more than a year.

“We can’t speculate on hypothetical scenarios,” Grana said in a statement. “We reaffirm our intention of not evading our responsibility if there were any evidence our current or past officials took part in corruption.”

Odebrecht’s other former partners include local builders JJ Camet Contratistas Generales and Ingenieros Civiles y Contratistas Generales S.A. Both companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Four former Peruvian presidents, the current opposition leader and several local construction companies are all under investigation in connection with Odebrecht. All have denied wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Mitra Taj; editing by Bill Berkrot)